Back in the dark misty times...

Back in the dark misty times...
Genealogy, joyfully discovered ~

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Monday, September 26, 2011

The old Spanish wheelbarrow

Another find to add to my cache of photos and information that will eventually piece the ongoing puzzle together. I want to learn more, to unearth the history that united the families who left Fuentesauco; my family and the others, their friends, the Alva and Corral families. The Martin family. And so many others. Seeing this simple wooden cart and knowing the families hefted their trunks aboard, pushed any items that could fit in open pockets of space and then adding a small child to the mix ---- and trundling it southward to the dreams that drew them there hurt my heart. They must have been so very focused. Exhausted but exhilarated. Hungry but full of a steady Spanish spirit. Frightened but anxious for their new life. A simple wheelbarrow. Carucha? This is a wheelbarrow of that time, possibly not an exact replica, but something to pin my visualization on to make the changes in my ongoing story that creates the feelings they imposed. Now, how did they get it onto the train? We know they rode the train until their money ran out before they began their long, winding trek on foot, pulling along nine little children with them. I found the train. I found the train tracks and villages they walked through. Now I must research the storage area and draw that picture with words to make it seem real.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The infamous Spanish trunk

After trying to visualize the type of trunk our ancestors must have struggled with across Spain in 1911 to load onto the ORTERIC at Gibraltar, my mind is now aflame with the real thing. Thanks to Lynda E. I now have a photograph and seeing it has filled in several blanks in the puzzle. This trunk belonged to her great grandfather, Victorino Silvan and great grandmother, Ramona Silvan. She inherited it from her grandmother, their daughter, Felisa Silvan Medeiros.
Seeing this trunk told me immediately that it could not have been carried twelve miles when they walked, camping their way south. This photograph opened up conversations between my daughter, Audrie, and I with 'what ifs' and 'maybe they'.......only to resume again in earnest when I arrived at Linda R.'s home in Elk Grove, CA. Further discussions began between Linda and her sister, Patte K. and I and we were enmeshed in the story of long ago. Once they saw the photograph, the brainstorming went into high gear and they remembered part of a story that fit one more piece of the puzzle: Our ancestors pushed a type of wheel barrow. It must have held the trunk and other belongings on that long trek AND possibly carried the babies in tow.
Now, I have another research project to add to my others -- this time, what did a wheel barrow in 1911 Spain look like? Just a little probing on the internet tells me it was called a CARRETIA. Other names were CARUCHA or CARRUCHA. It's another timid start and a large chunk of history that will meld with their long trip to make it real for everyone who will eventually read their story... in Manuela's Petals.

Friday, September 23, 2011

SILVAN photographs

I am staring at a pile of photographs that my cousin, Lynda E., was kind enough to give me. Lynda is the granddaughter of Felisa Silvan Medeiros. It appears the photographs were in a very old photo album -- some I recognized and many I did not. There was a beautiful photograph of Theodora Silvan Souza. I had a photograph of her with her husband, John Bento Souza and 'assumed' it was her wedding photo. However, this one is beautiful and I wonder if this is, in fact, her wedding photograph?
As I reached for the packet of photographs the day I met with Lynda, I was sitting beside another cousin, Dorothy Souza P. and it was lovely to watch these cousins interact with one another. They did not know one another and it was such a special feeling to bring them together. Theodora Silvan Souza --- in this photo --- was Dorothy's mother! Once I scan the photos, I will have a wonderful packet of photos to send to Dorothy and her niece, Vicki, who has shared so many documents and photographs with me --- She is Theodora's granddaughter. What a delightful family web I am turning into lace!
My next posting will have photos of 2 people that I HOPE someone can tell me who they are.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The past two weeks have been amazing. I have met, conversed, photographed and listened to Silvan family stories and been embraced into the Silvan family by so many lovely people! I will need time to get my information, photographs and documents organized but the feelings I returned home with are still making me smile.
Every person I contacted was so welcoming. I am sad that I missed seeing Theresa Gonzales Sackett due to a back injury, but hope to sit and visit next time. On a trip like this one, I had visits back to back and couldn't make changes to work around her medical schedule. I so wanted to meet her but another time for sure.
I will gather my wits, records and photos and prepare to update this blog daily with small pieces of my wonderful trip. For now, my pleasure is still fresh and my bag of information is stuffed full just ready to dip into and spread across my table for further study.
It is great to be home again as I settle into the real world again.... but hearing several stories while in California has given me a few new facts to weave into my story (thank you Linda and Patte!) AND a group of friends who lived with our ancestors in Fuentesauco too. Thanks to Judy A. and Frances P., I have a new perspective and oh! I tasted Manchego (Spanish) cheese for the first time with them. YUM. I can hardly wait to go to La Tienda in Williamsburg to buy some. Thank you, ladies!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Connections

So many family members have touched my life in the past 10 days and I feel the blessings. Yesterday I went to Disneyland with my daughter, Audrie, and my granddaughter who is 2 years old. Oh, to see Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy through her eyes and then tromp around Toon Town was sweet. The heat was nearly 100 so it took some fun out of the day but frozen lemonade hit the spot. I loved sharing the special day and at the end my granddaughter slept on my shoulder and touched my heart (again) with her vulnerability and sweet nature.

Tomorrow will be my first 'meet the Silvan descendants' day in Long Beach where I will meet and share lunch with Kathy, who is Uncle Celestino's daughter --- and her daughter too! What a wonderful holiday this is turning into....

AND more sharing! Aunt Rita has won Quilter of the Year in Battle Creek, Michigan and the newspaper article and photo was grand! She was surprised by 2 of her sisters flying from CA to share the accolades with her.... Aunt Millie and Aunt Antoinette. What fun the three sisters will have. Wish I could be there too and share in the fun.... but little arms hug me here.....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Auntie Victoria

How nice it is to pick up the phone and call Hawaii to hear a delightful voice on the other end, knowing I am speaking with my abuelita Manuela's first cousin. And now my cousin! Listening to her stories as a youth and beyond and learning more about my ancestors makes me smile (again!) and so anxious to share what I have learned from others in our family as well. She knew my great Uncle Celestino, great Uncle August, great Uncle many lovely memories to share and the pictures! Yes. I am loving all of this.

Heading for California next week to meet nearly ten 'new' cousins on the Silvan family side, anxious to listen to more stories so I can KNOW their fathers, grandfathers and cousins to add to my research. I wonder at times how lucky I can be to see my family grow around me, while I never knew their lives existed before.

My questions are listed. My maps are printed. My family charts are ready to share. And I will soon be on my way to enlarge this family data base PLUS meet friends from Fuentesauco too!